Joseph D. Andrews listened stoically Wednesday as prosecutors described him as an angry gun-waving drug dealer who murdered a man and a woman three years ago because they owed him money.
If convicted of the slayings in Browne’s Addition, the 26-year-old Andrews faces a possible death sentence.
“This comes down to disrespect and money,” Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Pat Thompson told jurors in her opening statement.
“Joseph Andrews was a disrespected man who executed those two people for a $1,000 drug debt.”
In a trial that is expected to last five weeks and become the costliest in county history, the star witness for the prosecution - Andrews’ former girlfriend - is scheduled to testify today.
Tarry Green claims to have been present when Andrews gunned down Larry Eaves and Eloise Patrick, both 37.
Early on the morning of Feb. 19, 1994, Andrews and Green sat in the back seat of a car parked near a supermarket. Eaves and Patrick were in the front seat, Thompson said.
Andrews suddenly pulled out a 9 mm pistol and fired three shots into each victim’s head, the prosecutor said.
Defense lawyers acknowledge that Andrews has a history of dealing drugs, but they insist he didn’t commit the murders.
“We don’t deny that he sold drugs and that he was wrong and what he did was illegal,” attorney Kevin Curtis told the jury.
Curtis said he intends to show inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case and will challenge the reliability of many of its witnesses.
Thompson conceded that the murder weapon hasn’t been found, and there is no clear physical evidence tying Andrews to the blood-soaked car.
But the prosecutor said Green will testify that Andrews pulled out the gun while inside the car, then told her, “I’m going to kill him (Eaves).”
Fearing for her life, Green will say, she promised Andrews later that morning that she wouldn’t tell anyone what happened, Thompson said.
Andrews later threatened her by putting his gun to her head at a South Post motel, Thompson told the jury.
“He didn’t kill her because he told Tarry he loved her,” Thompson said. But he also warned her he’d kill her or her mother if she broke her promise.
Jurors spent much of the first day of testimony examining bullet casings and fragments, pictures of the car and a piece of dried beef.
Thompson said Green and Andrews went to Chan’s Dragon Inn downtown, ordered a meal to go, then met Patrick and Eaves in the restaurant parking lot.
Andrews and Green sat in the Patrick’s 1979 Buick Regal while Eaves drove in search of cigarette papers for marijuana they planned to smoke, Thompson said.
Planning to go inside a Browne’s Addition Safeway, Eaves parked a block from the store as directed by Andrews, Thompson said.
A short time later, the shooting began, jurors were told.
Stunned and frightened by the sudden gunfire, Green tumbled out of the car, still clutching the Chinese food, Thompson said.
When police searched the scene after the bodies were discovered, detectives spotted a piece of beef on the ground.
The beef was introduced as evidence and then held up to to the jury by police Detective James Peterson.
Peterson produced the meat from a sealed evidence bag, held it in his hand and said it was the same piece he found on the ground.
County officials say the cost of bringing Andrews to trial will cost taxpayers close to $1 million.
Much of that cost is due to the death penalty option, which lengthened the time it took for jury selection. It will also cause a second penalty phase if jurors convict Andrews of the slayings.
Andrews is charged with two counts of aggravated first-degree murder.
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